All the white Pegasus stopped dead in their tracks, and they started bucking their riders off. Ruki looked at Will and smiled, “That's a good trick.”
But the black Pegasus walked through the commotion, both it and the rider yearning for destruction. Ruki glared at the rider, and called out, “Who are you?”
The rider called back in the voice of nightmares, “I'm Takumi, right hand man of the true king of Feresat, and my orders are that you won't reach Repremendant alive!” With that he charged his Pegasus through the skirmish and straight towards the pair.
Ruki immediately recognized the Pegasus he rode, and his eyes widened with shock. He murmured, “It can't be...” The winged horse opened its mouth, revealing sharp fangs, like a dragon's teeth. Its red eyes glowed, and fire spewed from its mouth. Takumi cackled, “Yes, its the imprisoned dragon survivor, Goran! It took me years to gain his trust, but he is very loyal now!”
Ruki glared at the horse. Even his own powerful abilities could do nothing against even an imprisoned dragon. He shouted to Will as Takumi started to close in on them, “What do we do? How can we defeat him?”
Will shouted back, “We can't kill the dragon, so just go for Takumi instead! He is still vulnerable!”
Ruki nodded, and leaped into the air. Will charged forward at the same time, leaving the dragon confused. Ruki smiled and dove towards Takumi. Takumi dove off the dragon just in time to miss Ruki's blade. He tumbled onto the ground, and quickly dodged some rocks that Ruki threw at him to distract him. Ruki thrust his sword at Takumi, but Takumi managed to dodge just in time. Ruki clenched his teeth. This was the first person he had met that matched his skill in fighting without being a warlock. They sparred for a little while, then Takumi snarled, “Want to know why I hate witch-folk? Because you are all filthy abominations and you think you are better than us! Well, I'll show you who's better!” And quick like lightning, Takumi shoved a large knife into Ruki's side.
Ruki's eyes widened, and Takumi laughed as Ruki clutched the hilt of the knife as he fell to his knees. Takumi turned around to return to his mount, when a sword slammed through his ribcage, and his fell silently to the ground.
Will had somehow managed to gain control of the dragon, and he dashed over to Ruki. Will shouted, “Ruki! Are you alright?”
Ruki gasped and mumbled, “I'm not sure, I think it missed all the vital organs.” Will examined the wound, and furrowed his brow. “We need to stop the bleeding at once and you may have a fighting chance. What were you thinking?” Will ripped open Ruki's shirt, and gently pulled out the knife. Ruki cried out with pain, and Will threw the knife away. Will placed his hands over the wound, and muttered some elven words. The wound slowly closed, and Ruki's breathing became steady again. Will carried him to one of the white Pegasus, and lay him on its back. He then stroked the horse's face and whispered, “Keep him safe, and don't jostle him too much.” The Pegasus snorted and tossed its head. Will smiled, and dashed to the dragon. He mounted it, and quickly flew back to the cave.
Sayumi was a wreak when he got there. When he landed in the cave, she dragged him off his mount and hugged him so tightly he thought he would break. Then she got very angry and shouted, “What were you two thinking!! You could have died!! Then what would I do?! Hurry, we have to go help Ruki!”
Will smiled and pushed her to arms length, and held her there. “Don't worry, we will tend to him soon. We have to get the horses down the mountain first.”
Sayumi shouted again, “We can get the horses later! Ruki is more important!! He is injured!!”
Will held his hand up for her to be quiet. “I'm sure Ruki has already filled you in on the situation. Just send Kayo down the mountain and the other horses will follow him.” Sayumi glared at him, but she quickly loaded up their gear onto the horses and sent Kayo down the path. Sure enough, the other two horses followed just like ducklings follow their mother. Then Will dragged Sayumi over to the black Pegasus, and Sayumi asked, “Where did you get this Pegasus from?”
Will replied, “Its a long story, but the just of it is I have to keep it from now on. Don't worry, just don't try to ride it without me.” As Sayumi mounted the creature to sit behind Will, she almost immediately knew it was not a true Pegasus. She felt an intense heat radiating from its body, and its blood red eyes focused on her as it looked behind it. It opened its mouth and snarled at her, and Sayumi shrieked as she saw the vicious fangs gnashing at her. Will cooed something indecipherable at it, and it took off with a jolt, and flew faster than the wind towards Repremendant.
They were there in just a few minutes, and as Sayumi looked around, she couldn't even fathom what had happened there. But the moment she saw Ruki laying on the back of a Pegasus, she leaped from the black Pegasus and sprinted to him. Tears moistened her eyes as she saw how beaten up he was, and she threw her hands over him and cried into his shirt. “Ruki! You can't die! I need you!”
Ruki laughed weakly and replied, “Whoa, who ever said anything about dying?” Sayumi bolted her head up, and Ruki smiled at her. He lifted his hand and Sayumi grabbed it gently. She pressed it to her cheek, and kissed it. Ruki blushed, and Sayumi started crying again. “I was so worried, why didn't you wake me up before you left?”
Ruki replied quietly, “You were sleeping so peacefully, I thought I ought to let you keep sleeping. It's okay, besides we are finally here. We should get going and find my family and a witch who discovered her powers later in life.”
Sayumi shook her head. “No way, we are waiting down here for the horses. Once they get here, we are going to find a doctor to make sure you are okay.”
Ruki raised an eyebrow and asked, “Good grief, when did you get to be such a worrier?” Sayumi smiled, and now it was her turn to blush. Will stood by the imprisoned dragon, and smiled. “Looks like she may have finally figured it out. I hope it works out for them.” The dragon tossed his head impatiently, and Will glared at him. “We will go in the city later, be patient. And so help me, if you try anything stupid I will castrate you immediately!” The dragon cringed and whimpered, and Will laughed and patted his neck.
The horses got to the bottom of the mountain at around mid afternoon, and Sayumi was never more pleased to see Kayo. She quickly mounted him, happy to be riding an actual horse again. Will carefully transferred Ruki from the Pegasus to the black mare, and once he made sure all the stolen Pegasus were fine, he used the unicorn's horn again and they all flew away in the same direction. Sayumi asked, “Where did they go?”
Will replied, “Those creatures belong to the elven King, so I sent them back to him. Maybe I will even get a promotion for that!”
Sayumi shook her head and added, “You won't be going back, you know. You're going to stay here with Rakelle and we both know it.”
Will laughed awkwardly and replied, “Oh, you have no idea how much I want to! But we already discussed that I can't.”
Sayumi replied cockily, “No, you told me how you were too scared to marry her, and I told you how much you should do it anyway!” Will scowled at her, and she giggled as she led Ruki and his horse towards the gate. Will led the draft horse ahead of them, the big horse shying away from the imprisoned dragon. The dragon snorted and dashed forward, yanking the big horse along with him.
Once they reached the gate, Sayumi felt this undeniable sense of deja-vu. She waited patiently as Will talked to the guard, who eventually let them in. Sayumi found herself looking into the most crowded place she had ever seen. It was much more welcoming and safer than Beauford, and that fact alone made her relax. But she still held the reigns to Ruki's horse a bit tighter than before.
As she looked around, she realized all the people there looked exactly like her: tanned skin, straight black hair. She felt so incredibly normal, for the first time in her life. People didn't give her strange looks, they just saw another Reprandese person. There were very few people that weren't Reprandese, so when they saw Will, even with his hood up to hide his ears they gave him weird looks. He had covered the imprisoned dragon's wings, fearing they would be frightened by such a creature.
After meandering through the streets for a while, and Ruki's minimal instructions, they managed to find Ruki's home. It was a very small, run-down farm house that was in the area where the serfs lived. There were at least a dozen small farming properties in the area, each having their own field and pastures for livestock. However, from what they could see, there were no livestock on any of the farms.
Sayumi dismounted to knock on the door of the house that Ruki had directed her to, but she was nervous. She wished she had asked more thoroughly what kind of people his family were, because she wasn't sure how to talk to peasants; being raised as royalty had its drawbacks. She walked up to the door, and knocked gently a few times. Sayumi waited a few minutes, but no one came. She shrugged and started to walk away, but Ruki shook his head and pointed at the door again. Sayumi sighed, and walked back to the door. She knocked harder this time, and she heard footsteps though the small house. A young man opened the door and asked, “What's your business here mister?”
Sayumi smiled; Ruki's brother was even more oblivious to women than he was. She announced, “Well, we have your brother, and he's injured. Um, can we come in?”
The man looked at Ruki and nodded. Sayumi smiled and waited awkwardly for someone to tell her what to do. Ruki laughed a few times and murmured, “Sayumi, go inside.” Sayumi blushed and dashed inside without a word. Ruki's brother asked, “So who's that?”
Ruki replied happily, “That's Sayumi, the most confusing woman in the world.”
His brother gasped, “No way! That can't be the princess of Feresat! Seriously? The one that they've been looking for?” He glanced back inside the house, then looked back to Ruki with a big grin on his face, “She's pretty hot.”
Ruki glared at his brother and growled, “Don't think because I'm hurt that I can't kick your ass Haru!” Haru laughed and helped his brother off the horse, and into the house. Will smiled and led the horses into the livestock pen, giving the dragon a lengthy lecture before he left and promising if he stayed in the pen until he needed him he would reward him justly.
The house looked like it was hundreds of years old on the outside, but the inside wasn't too bad. The house was very simple, nothing there that wasn't necessary. No art, no decorations of any kind. Sayumi looked around, realizing just how good she had it in the castle. There was no one to do the chores for these people, no one to make sure dinner was made on time every day. She instantly felt sorry for them, having to live like this their whole lives.
When Haru had finished getting Ruki into a bed to rest, he came and sat at the table with Sayumi. He smiled and asked, “So you're the famous princess of Feresat huh?”
Sayumi tensed up visibly, and Haru laughed, “Don't worry, no one will rat you out in this house. If Ruki trust you, so do I. You sure are different from what the rumors say.”
Sayumi frowned and asked, “Everyone keeps talking about these rumors, but I've never heard them. What do people say about me?”
Haru leaned back so his chair was only sitting on two legs and replied, “Well, they say that Princess Sayumi is like a desert flower, with silky black hair. Her eyes are brown like chocolate, and she is soft like a kitten.”
Sayumi raised an eyebrow. “I don't think they would say things like that if they would have seen me killing those thugs who kidnapped Rakelle...”
Haru laughed and added, “Well, I think you are not like how they say; you are more like a lion than a kitten. And I think a lion is more suited to a guy like me than a guy like Ruki-” Haru was cut off by a rolling pin flying into the back of this head. Sayumi giggled as Ruki shouted from the other room, “I may be hurt, but I'm not dead yet! Knock it off Haru!”
Haru rubbed his head and muttered, “I should have put him upstairs.” Then he looked up at Sayumi again and asked, “So what brings a princess like you so far from your castle?”
Sayumi lost her smile, and replied slowly, “Its sort of a long story.”
Haru noticed immediately her change of attitude, and quickly blurted, “Sorry, didn't mean to touch a sore spot.”
Sayumi shrugged. “Don't worry about it. But I have a question for you now.” Sayumi leaned on the table and asked in a serious tone, “Do you know any witches who discovered their powers later in life?”
Haru blinked, then replied, “Well, there is one I can think of that lives in the marketplace. She discovered her powers a few years ago. Her name is Midori, I can take you to find her tomorrow if you want.”
Sayumi lit up and exclaimed, “That would be amazing! Thanks so much Haru!” Then Sayumi dashed out to find Will. Haru smirked and stood up. He walked into Ruki's room, and started whistling. Ruki glared at Haru and announced, “There's no way I'm letting you take her into the city alone.”
Haru smiled. “Don't worry brother. There's nothing going to happen between her and me; her heart is already full with someone else.”